You probably didn’t start 2020 thinking, “This is the year I start homeschooling my children!” Instead, this situation was likely an unexpected—and unwelcome—disruption of a routine that worked perfectly fine. You know, that routine where your kids leave the house during the day?
Many parts of the country have already announced that schools will not reopen until fall, so you might be facing weeks or months of remote learning at the kitchen table. If you feel like you’re struggling to help your kids keep up and get ahead, you’re not alone—and we’re here to help. Read on for eight tips to help your kids come out of quarantine ahead!
Tip 1: Set a routine or schedule
Kids (and most adults!) thrive on routines. Set a regular wakeup time and regular mealtimes, establish study time, play time, and down time. Your routine can be as loose or as strict as you like, but getting up and dressed at a decent hour everyday will help everyone feel some semblance of normalcy during an abnormal time. Take a look at our sample schedule below. You can download a Word version of this and edit the times and activities as you see fit.
Tip 2: Carve out workspaces
Some kids will do best under your eagle eye at the kitchen table while others will concentrate better at a desk in their room. Find spots throughout the house where kids (and parents!) can get work done. Aim for spots that have a flat workspace and few distractions, and avoid letting the kids do their work in their beds—they’ll sleep better at night if beds remain a place for sleeping rather than for working.
Tip 3: Change up subjects
The brain works best when things aren’t too monotonous. By working on just one topic or subject for long stretches of time, students may not learn that subject as well. Instead, encourage your kids to change topics or subjects a couple of times per hour to help keep their brains fresh throughout a study session.
Tip 4: Don’t just rely on digital learning days
America’s schoolteachers have done a spectacular job of shifting to online teaching without notice, but the digital learning days that most students are doing isn’t a one-to-one replacement for full school days. Augment your children’s school assignments with other learning opportunities to keep those minds sharp.
- Start a family reading challenge—who can read the most books or pages in a week?
- Set up a family book club—gather together once or twice a week to talk about the latest family read. Scholastic has recommendations to get you started.
- Challenge your kids to write a novel. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is technically in November, but there’s no rule saying you can’t take advantage of the NaNoWriMo Young Writer’s Program any time of year.
- Set some quarantine resolutions and keep each other accountable. Everyone has something they’ve always wanted to learn but never had the time to study—well now there’s time!
- Check out more resources for parents during the quarantine here.
Tip 5: Help your kids set clear goals
It’s easy to become aimless and unproductive when daily routines are disrupted. Give each day more purpose by working with your children to set clear, manageable goals for each day and week. Consider setting up a sticker chart or other visual tracker where you can record goals and progress—Pinterest is full of ideas for setting up goal charts.
Tip 6: Encourage frequent breaks
Remote learning is tough. It’s a lot harder to concentrate at home than it is in the classroom, which means kids’ brains tire of focusing much more quickly. Kids will be happier and more productive if they take frequent breaks from learning activities.
Tip 7: Don’t forget about mental and physical health
Quarantine is tough for adults, but it’s much harder on kids. Since kids are struggling to cope with a new and scary situation, they will be even less able to prioritize their needs than usual. It’s up to us to ensure that our kids are learning, coping, and thriving.
- Get outside. Go for walks, play tag, roll down a hill, and generally get silly.
- Check out yoga for kids—there are lots of online options.
- Talk through emotions. It’s okay for kids to grieve the things they’re missing out on!
Tip 8: Social distancing doesn’t mean being alone
They say it takes a village to raise a child, and you might be feeling particularly village-less at the moment. Thanks to the internet, we’ve got tons of options to help stay connected—take advantage! Ask friends and family if they’d be willing to pitch in with some remote learning. Here are some examples:
- Math-savvy friends might help with math homework
- Continue music lessons that were started before quarantine with video chats
- Ask an artist friend to give drawing lessons
- Set up story time with a circle of family and friends
We’re part of your village, too. C2 Education has gone virtual to support parents and students while schools are closed. Learn more about C2 Virtual’s live online classes here.